I like the analogy of the concept of comparing ego and heart to the unified field theory of physics. I know little about physics, but I do know enough to see one similarity.
Choosing heart as a filter and motivating force operates in and on many fields of human experience. Ego, the default filter, tends to respond to specific and discrete situations that arise, and it attempts to isolate the person. When operating and acting from the heart, we come to understand that we have a core Self identity, and as we relate to the rest of the Universe, the heart principle establishes dynamics that are interrelated and interdependent — no isolation or isolated phenomena, rather an interplay of energies.
When we experience loneliness, frustration, disorientation, and any of a whole host of other negative experiences, we have a choice: continue in ego, which will isolate and intensify the negativity, or choose the heart, which will guide into positive creations, solutions, resolutions, and growth.
When the ego operates on the major fields of life, we see little unity; life seems to be boxed up in neat and tidy units because that can protect us and allow us to continue to function discretely in other areas of life when one box is damaged. However, if no resolution occurs or the negativity increases, we suffer from mental, emotional, and societal problems rarely understanding that the root, the base problem is not knowing Self.
When the heart is known and we awaken to Self, we can trace major world problems directly to people denying Self. When we function as core Self, we see the dynamic relationship of fields of life, fields of human experience: physical self and all bodily needs to human relationships in all forms to spirituality/religious beliefs to psychology to education to society/social issues to government/governance.
Let’s think about education. Reform has been talked about and instituted constantly because education just doesn’t seem to be working. Reform has been ego-driven; problems are isolated, and specific fixes are applied and different trends and vogues are adopted that may help a little bit in one area but problems crop up elsewhere. However, in order for any ego-driven system to work, it must be protected to keep working, so those who get to make the decisions end up showing their ego colors.
How do I recognize this? I see ego in the dictatorial forms and expressions that define prevailing practices today: rigor — “we set the standards;” accountability — “we measure those standards;” compliance — “Do what we say or else.” Curriculum is designed, methods and techniques are used, and tests are given. It is all neatly boxed and different segments of education are worked on and touted as solutions — all isolated and failed attempts.
What would be a unifying force that redefines education and fixes the philosophy? Educate with the primary purpose of young people coming to follow their hearts, awaken to Self, and find purpose in expressing Self. That’s crazy, right?! Nope, not.
When humans do that, they are curious; therefore, they learn; therefore, they grow, think, create, contribute, and therefore, they are fulfilled and tolerant of others living Self; therefore, society and social issues are dealt with humanely and positively; therefore government is affected. Interrelated, connected, interdependent fields affected in ripples based on an approach of education that is structured on children coming to know Self.
A number of educators actually believe this, but they are subject to the ego-driven, dictatorial system, so their voices are not heard very often. Carl Rogers and Jerome Freiberg write of their work in educating founded on the deepest self. I worked to educate this way, but they were a lot brighter than me and they set it down very clearly in Freedom to Learn.
The freedom they address is the freedom to be Self that then designs education, but that is linked to the rest of one’s life. Much of meaning for the individual depends on the value we assign to life experiences, including school. Rogers discusses this process of valuing from our core Self rather than the conforming ego.
“The tentative conclusion is that even though modern humans no longer trust religion or science or philosophy or any system of beliefs to give them their values, they can find an organismic valuing base deep within themselves, which, if they can learn to be in touch with it, will prove to be an organized, adaptive, and social approach to the perplexing value issues that face all of us” (291).
I see the reference to the Heart — “deep within themselves…learn to be in touch with it” — that is the filter through which to view and assign value to life, and it extends to all of life. And Freedom to Learn applies this directly to education.
I will leave with this thought about the current inadequacy of schools in this freedom to know, be, and value from core Self: “But if schools remain as they are, the next generation of adults will need extensive assistance in finding meaning in their lives. The world is changing at such a rapid rate that the fifteen thousand hours most children spend in school need to be reshaped if young adults are to flourish in a complex and interdependent world” (291).
Flourishing does not come through conformity and standardization achieved through ego-driven means; it will only come through drawing out the heart, an action that impacts all other fields of life.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!